If there is one thing that St Andrews is known for across the nation, it is that we, the students, love lavish events and attend them regularly. We convey this illusory image that the price does not matter – we are willing to pay for it – but I know that that is not the truth for a majority of students. In fact, we want to guarantee that our money is going towards something great and, when the Kate Kennedy committee proposes an event that starts at £45, we want the reassurance that skimping on cheaper meals for the next few weeks will be worth it. It is safe to say, however, that the KK knows what they are doing. On the eve of May Dip this year, the Kinkell Byre hosted – handily – one of the most entertaining nights of the year.
Something that could go well-appreciated by any May Ball attendee is that the “you-get-what-you-pay-for” mentality is not an issue: whether you are a standard ticket holder or a coveted VIP guest, you can have an enjoyable experience either way. The festival rides, for one, are accessible to everyone and, while they make an appearance every year and are not exactly a new feature, they are what separates the event from others. May Ball has the advantage of the mild, spring weather and exploits it for all its worth, in the best possible way. Dressing up in our best outfits and rides that throw you around a bit and alcohol sounds like a deadly combination, but for some reason, it just works. The rides stifle Kinkell’s tendency to swallow people up, both socially and physically: with roughly half a dozen events being held there annually, it can get monotonous quickly, feeling as if we are in an endless loop of the same evening just with a different theme. The venue is also magical, in the sense that your friends magically disappear from you as soon as you enter the building. May Ball’s carnival bits outside, however, allow the whole affair to be fresh and less restricted, and this year was no exception.
Everyone was also privy to an assortment of truly fantastic acts. The opening act, Rapturous, offered a set that gave performers at other events a run for their money. Almost immediately upon entering, the dance floor was packed and remained so the entire start of the night. Meanwhile, Asquire in the VIP tent served flawless tracks, as always. It was headliner Felix Jaehn, however, that smashed other acts out of contention. His bigger hits ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and ‘Bonfire’ blended amongst other lesser known remixes, leaving super-fans satisfied and those unfamiliar with his work still engaged. DJs Matt Payne and Hamish Rea also did a good job of keeping the crowd alive. Regardless of where you were in the marquee, you were blessed with amazing music.
While classic guests had a lot to interact with, the VIP benefits were worth the splurge. For £70, VIP guests held access to a separate lounge stocked with complimentary ice cream, chocolate fountains, cozy seating and frosty lighting. The rooms were a clear favourite amongst guests, who flocked to it as a reprieve from the main room’s congestion. Any extra costs were worth it for the experience given; those who are nervous of being swindled should be assured in years ahead that it is worth the price. With that said, these little luxuries did not make-or-break the evening.
Remarkably, the negatives of the night were elements out of the KK’s control. Kinkell’s inept control over the restrooms – which seems to be catastrophic at every event – left lengthy queues and disgusting facilities. The similarly long waits for rides were close to turning violent, leaving pushing students with a few bruises and spewing curses. Considering that these were reflections of attendees’ behaviour and drawbacks of the venue, the KK provided an almost unproblematic event.
May Ball may push people’s budgets and leave us searching some pockets for spare pounds, but in the end, the price matches the value. Next term, stay in for some of the many lacklustre Kinkell events and save up for May Ball 2018.
All images courtesy of Ampersand Media.